Muriel Bowser is the seventh elected mayor of Washington, DC. She has a strong record of creating a bold urban policy agenda, making tough decisions in a high stakes environment, and shaping a diverse economy. Mayor Bowser has served her hometown in elected office since 2004 as Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner (2004-2006), Member of the DC Council (2007-2015) and now Mayor since 2015. On November 8, she became only the second person elected three times as mayor of Washington, DC. She is the first African American woman to be elected to three, four-year terms as mayor of an American city.
Since taking office, Mayor Bowser has boldly reset DC’s global and national competitiveness, sped up affordable housing production, diversified the DC economy, oversaw consistent enrollment growth across the District’s public schools to its highest enrollment since Home Rule, increased satisfaction in city services, refocused our efforts around achieving statehood, and invested in programs and policies that allow more families to live and thrive across the city. Mayor Bowser has played key roles in delivering transformational economic development projects, creating jobs and housing for DC residents—including the Audi Field, the Entertainment and Sports Arena, St. Elizabeths, Walter Reed, McMillan, and The Wharf. She is a graduate of the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative and of Leadership Greater Washington. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from Chatham University and a Master of Public Policy from the American University.
Janie L. Mines entered and graduated from the United States Naval Academy (USNA), as the only African American female in the first class of women. She was later selected to participate in the prestigious Sloan Fellows Program, where she earned an MBA from MIT. During her rewarding military career, she served as a Supply Corps Officer holding several positions including a tour at the Naval Training Center, the Pentagon and aboard the USS Emory S. Land (AS-39). She was among the first generation of women officers to serve on ships.
Janie held management and executive positions. She served in the Senior Executive Service in the Office of the Secretary of the Navy. She served as a member of the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS). Janie has consulted across 15 industries on Strategic Planning, Program, Change, and Process Management. She founded and led a non-profit organization, Boyz to Men Club, Inc. for over 10 years. Janie was awarded the Office of the Secretary of Defense Award for Exceptional Public Service the United States Congressional Record Proclamation for Service and the National Women of Color in Business Award Winner. Additionally, she was honored as an Olympic Torch bearer, the Civic Volunteer of the Year, a winner of the 9 Who Care Award for the Charlotte Metropolitan Area, and a South Carolina Black History Honoree. Janie received the USNA Distinguished Graduate Award in 2021. Janie currently serves as SVP of Inclusion and Innovation and advisory board member for Academy Securities, Inc. and manages her own businesses as an author and publisher. She is the author of No Coincidences - Reflections of the First Black Female Graduate of the United States Naval Academy.
Erica is Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer of The Future Hunters, one of the world’s leading futurist consulting firms. She evaluates emerging social, technological, economic, political, demographic and environmental trends – and identifies the strategic implications (the “So what?”) of those trends for several of the most influential Fortune 500 companies, trade associations and public sector clients. Erica’s ability to identify patterns, think critically and analytically, and translate that into actionable strategies is what has made her an invaluable asset to clients.
Erica frequently speaks to a wide range of global audiences about the macro trends that are shaping and impacting today’s landscape. She has spoken at TEDx and keynoted over a hundred conferences around the world, including across Europe, Latin America, and Asia. She has authored numerous articles and industry white papers on a variety of future-focused topics, and has been featured in news outlets including NPR, Time, Inc, Yahoo Singapore, WWD, Bloomberg, and CBS This Morning. In 2020, she was named by Forbes as one of the world's 50 Top Female Futurists.
A leading researcher, author, and advisor in the fields of leadership and inclusion, Arin studied business at DePaul University’s College of Commerce, attended law school at University of Southern California, and received her Ph.D. in Sociology from Northwestern University.
Arin is a best-selling author of four books - In Charge (2022), Smarter Than A Lie (2019), One Size Never Fits All (2014), and The Next IQ (2012).
Arin has designed and led several comprehensive research projects on leadership and inclusion in various topics related to diversity, inclusion, and equity. Before Nextions, Arin practiced law for several years and served as an Adjunct Professor at Northwestern University where she taught classes on law and society.
Leah Szarek is the Chief External Relations Officer for the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB), where she oversees the organization's corporate communications, stakeholder engagement initiatives and government relations. Previously, Leah has held various communications roles and has led the MSRB’s flagship market transparency program, the Electronic Municipal Market Access (EMMA®) website, as Director, Market Transparency. Prior to joining the MSRB, Leah was manager of communications and investor education for the North American Securities Administrators Association, an international group of state and provincial securities regulators. Leah began her career as a political reporter and freelance writer. Leah received a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a master’s degree in media and public affairs from the George Washington University. She earned the Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) from the Public Relations Society of America.
Kelly Allers is Senior Manager, Data Governance, at the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board, where she oversees the integration of governance best practices into data management. She has played a key role in shaping the data quality program, the adoption of artificial intelligence and machine learning for data science, and the creation of the EMMA Labs website. EMMA Labs provides a hub for municipal market participants and technology experts to collaborate, innovate and create potential applications for market data. Applications that are tested and refined here may find their way to the MSRB's EMMA website, where they can contribute to a fair, efficient and transparent municipal market. The MSRB's newest addition to EMMA Labs is an educational lab to demystify structured data and illustrate its potential in the municipal market. In prior roles at the MSRB, she led the program management office and various software engineering teams working on the Electronic Municipal Market Access (EMMA®) and the MSRB corporate websites.
Before joining the MSRB, Ms. Allers worked in software development in the healthcare industry. She has a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Wichita State University and a master’s degree in technology from Purdue University.
Lisa Haley is the Deputy Director/Treasurer for the Department of Finance and Administrative Services in the Town of Leesburg, VA. In her current role as treasury officer, she is responsible for debt management, investments, and revenue collections. Mrs. Haley has been with the Town since 2012, is a Certified Public Finance Officer (CPFO) through the Government Finance Officers Association, holds a Master of Business Administration from George Mason University and a Bachelor of Business Administration from James Madison University. Mrs. Haley is an author whose passions include mentoring, coaching, and leadership mindset. In her downtime when not spending time with her husband and adult children, she enjoys competing in cycling and recently competed in the 2023 National Senior Games in time trials and road racing.
Katano Kasaine is the assistant general manager/chief financial officer for Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. She is responsible for directing Metropolitan's financial activities, including accounting and financial reporting, debt issuance and management, financial planning and strategy, managing Metropolitan's investment portfolio, budget administration, financial analysis, financial systems management, and developing rates and charges. In addition, she is responsible for human resources, administrative services, risk management, and business continuity activities.
Before joining Metropolitan in August 2019, Katano worked with the City of Oakland for 25 years, holding various leadership positions, most recently as the city's finance director/treasurer. In that position, she managed all aspects of the city's finance functions, including a $3.2 billion budget, a $1.1 billion debt portfolio, and investments and cash operations of more than $1.7 billon.
Katano also held other key executive management roles critical to the City of Oakland, including interim chief information officer, where she implemented an update of the city's HR, payroll, and budgeting system, and director of human resources, where she represented the city in key labor negotiations.
Katano has a bachelor's degree in business administration from Dominican University of California and a master's degree in public health from Loma Linda University.
Jennie Bennett served as the former Chief Financial Officer for the City of Chicago from 2019-2023. During her tenure, the City of Chicago closed a $1.2 billion budget gap, the largest in the City’s history, brought structural balance to the City’s finances, achieved the highest reserve levels at least a decade, and secured 13 rating upgrades and 3 positive outlooks for the first time in as much as a quarter century for the City. O’Hare International Airport was only one of 2 airports to come out the pandemic with two higher ratings than it held going into the pandemic. The City of Chicago also developed three largest in the City’s history investment plans of totaling over $8 billion in transformative investments for the City, including the City’s inaugural ESG bonds.
Jennie has a wide range of both public sector and private sector experience. Previously the Chief Financial Officer for Chicago Public Schools (CPS), Jennie has extensive experience in managing financial turnarounds, driving cost efficiencies, managing large complex capital structures, developing governmental budgets, generating revenues through creative solutions, and finding paths toward financial stability. She helped lead CPS through significant financial difficulties, which have now been relieved through new, fairer educational funding. She also served as CPS’s acting Chief Internal Auditor from 2018-2019 and Treasurer from 2012-16. Prior to CPS, Bennett spent over a decade as a senior investment banker in municipal securities, managing post-recovery financing needs for New York after 9/11 and Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina, large water and wastewater acquisitions as well as various types of municipal financings. Jennie also serves on the Board of the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board.
As DART’s Chief Financial Officer, Elizabeth Reich oversees an annual budget of $1.7 billion, $3.5 billion in municipal debt, and $1.2 billion in investments.
Prior to DART, Elizabeth served as CFO for the City of Dallas where she was instrumental in brokering a compromise that saved the Dallas Police and Fire Pension. She also helped the City emerge on strong financial footing from a devastating tornado, followed closely by the COVID-19 crisis. Before the City, Elizabeth spent 16 years with the Social Security Administration, including as its CFO in 2015.